As I stroll past one of the world’s hallmark Apple stores in downtown San Francisco, the feeling is sombre. The icon that is Apple has changed. The usual vibrancy is absent. Chairs usually filled with knowledge-hungry fans waiting for the next MacBook demonstration are vacant. The chaotic buzz one would usually experience the week the new iPhone 4S is released is replaced with a more respectful blanket of dampened excitement. It’s a surreal experience on a day Apple fans will remember forever.
Today represents the passing of a legend and we pause to remember arguably the most influential figure in the history of computing. (Sorry Mr Gates, you have lost pole position). Steve Jobs was the reason Apple became the most recognisable icon in the world. A man not afraid to step outside the square. A man not afraid to initiate change. A man with a vision for the future, whose passion and drive not only changed the computing industry but also the music and mobile phone industries. This article looks at the triumphs in the life of Steve Jobs and the reasons he will be remembered as a man who changed the way we live.
Adopted at birth, Steve Jobs had a relatively normal childhood. He never finished his degree from Reed College and decided to focus on his main passion, computers. With good friend Steve Wozniak, Jobs created the first game-changing adventure for video game producer, Atari. Tasked with the job of redesigning the circuit boards on one of Atari’s leading games, the pair established the sleek and efficient traits we see in Apple products today. They soon outgrew Atari and moved on to their own venture, Apple Computers. After a swift rise, Jobs was ousted from his own company following a much publicised disagreement with company directors.
“Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs.
True to his word, Jobs always treated life’s ‘flying bricks’ as opportunities. He often reflected that being fired by Apple led to a period when his life really began to take shape. He embarked on new challenges, married the woman he loved and started a family, which remained his priority even as he became one of the most successful businessmen in history. Steve Jobs embraced change. He approached new challenges with passion, diligence and a sometimes reckless desire to succeed and change the playing field. He founded Next Computers and was close to bankruptcy on more than one occasion before he was re-hired by Apple. He eventually sold Next to Apple for $429 million.
Steve Jobs’ long resume includes the creation of Pixar, the world’s first completely animated film producer. For most people, this would be a feat in itself. For the Apple co-founder, Pixar was just another chapter in the life of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Pixar remains at the forefront of animated production and Apple needs no introduction in today’s world of personal computing.
The Apple brand represents a vibrant, cutting-edge culture. Originality, boldness and creativity are words that apply to both Jobs’ life and the icon he created. In the words of Steve Jobs just prior to his passing: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old and makes way for the new. The new, is you.”
A genius has passed, making way for a new generation of technological entrepreneurs. The world moves on, one ‘app’ at a time.